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How to Choose Between the World's Best Business Schools

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To choose the best business school for you, start by considering location, program type, and specialization

Today’s graduate management landscape looks completely different to what it did a generation ago. There is simply more choice. There are more specialized programs, and more quality business schools in more locations.

So, how do you choose between the world’s best business schools to find the program right for you?

Start by considering location, program type, and specialization. In this article, we delve into data from our Top Countries For Business School Candidates In 2019 report—published in collaboration with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)—to help you out.

Choosing your location

In an increasingly globalized world, the US is slowly losing its status as the obvious choice for graduate business degrees.

Although just over half of business school candidates want to study in the US, our report shows there’s been an almost 16% drop in the popularity of the US as a study destination over the past decade.

With more candidates worried about strict immigration rules in the US, more are turning to the likes of the UK and Canada for their MBA and master’s programs.

Chinese and Indian students make up the majority of international students in business schools across the US and Europe, but many Westerners are not yet ready to study in emerging markets. India, Singapore, and Hong Kong appeal to only 2% of global candidates.

However, this could be set to change. Our report shows that while millennials (24-to-30 year-olds) have a stronger preference for English-speaking countries, Generation Z (under 24 year-olds) are ready to study in more diverse countries around the world.

When choosing the location of your ideal program, make sure you consider where you would like to work after your studies. Ideally, you’d like to build networks and relationships in the same place. You should also consider how your program will be seen by employers in your post-program location.

Program type: MBA vs Masters

In the past, the US was better known for its two-year MBA programs while those in the UK and Europe tended to be one-year MBAs. Now, there are far more options and you can find programs of different lengths and specializations across the world.

Our research shows that where candidates study largely depends on the type of program. 64.8 percent of global candidates looking at a two-year MBA prefer the US, compared to 55 percent of one-year MBA candidates. Only around 29 percent choose the US for a Master’s in Management. Different people are suited to programs and you’ll need to decide on the type of program that will help you to achieve your goals.

Generally speaking, the choice between a one-year and two-year program comes down to what you’d like to accomplish, weighed up against the opportunity cost of taking extra time to study.

The overwhelming benefit of the two-year program in the US is the time it gives you to take a summer internship between your first and second year, especially important to those wanting to gain experience in a new field or be better enabled to switch careers.

Specialized masters programs, like the Master’s in Finance and the Master’s in Management, are particularly well-suited to those with an existing foundation in business, and who are looking to upskill with specialized knowledge for a specific career path. The MBA on the other hand, is great for those, even non-traditional candidates, looking for more generalist skills.

Make sure you do your research and chat to alumni and employers in your target industry to see what the best options are.


To choose between the world’s best business schools, choose the school which is best for you and your chosen career path.

If you’re an MBA candidate, you can compare programs by specializations such as consulting, finance, and technology. QS ranks global business schools’ specializations based on career placements, employer reputation, and research strength. According to QS, schools like Stanford GSB and IE Business School in Spain stand out for entrepreneurship. For consulting, INSEAD is top-ranked, followed by Columbia Business School. If you’re interested in finance, you could consider Wharton and Harvard Business School. MIT Sloan in the US and HEC Paris in France are known for operations management.

This article was originally published on BusinessBecause.

Whether you’re considering an MBA, EMBA, or Master’s program, read more content like this and get practical resources to help your business school application on BusinessBecause